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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Insect on Pasadena CA tomato plant

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Question
bug on tomato plant 1
bug on tomato plant 1  

bug on tomato plant 2
bug on tomato plant 2  
Hello, I have attached two pics of a small bug that is hanging out on a potted tomato plant on my patio in Pasadena, CA.

I would like to know if this bug is beneficial (ie, a predator of other bugs) or a pest (ie damaging to my plant).

I am particularly concerned that this bug might be behind my problem of dropping tomato blossoms.  The blossoms on this tomato plant are dropping off instead of forming tomatoes.

Thank You Very Much,
Angela

Answer
Angela,

This is a true bug (Hemiptera) but I can't see it clearly enough to id much further. Many true bugs are predators so this one may be considered beneficial. When tomato plants drop their blooms it is usually a sign of nutrient deficiency or lack of pollination. I'd start with giving them a good quality fertilizer that includes micronutrients (not too much) and see if that helps.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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